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From Joshua Slive <>
Subject Language Negotiation: "No Acceptable Variant"
Date Mon, 29 Jan 2001 04:40:54 GMT
A quick look at the error logs on shows almost 500 "No
Acceptable Variant" errors so far today.  Many of these errors are caused
by people with misconfigured browsers trying to deal with our new
language-negotiated manual.  (I am defining "misconfigured" as not
including "en" for english in their browser language preferences, although
that is an admittedly english-centric view of things.)

We discussed this once before, and concluded that there was nothing we
could do about.  However, I now believe that this is not true.  If there
is a file with with no language attribute associated with it, then Apache
will serve that file in preference to the "No Acceptable Variant" error.
So, for example, if we include a page called "index.html.html", then since
this page has no language, it will be served as a "default" page.

So, I see three options:

1. Leave things as they are and hope that people with misconfigured
browsers fix them.

2. Put a page in index.html.html describing how to configure content
negotiation (as in

3. Just symlink (can that be done in cvs?) index.html.html to
index.html.en to make english the default page.  This could be done for
every page where we add a translation.

I am leaning towards 3, but would like input on how this could be done in

In the future, as we get more translations, we should also do something
more akin to the Debian model where each page lists all the translations
available and a link to a "language help page".



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